AWS Public Sector Blog

University of Bahrain students participate in an artificial intelligence hackathon

Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Bahrain hosted its first artificial intelligence (AI) two-week hackathon, culminating at the AWS Summit in Bahrain. Twenty-six students in eight teams from the University of Bahrain (UoB) went deep into innovation, fun, and development. Bahrain has a national focus on developing digital skills for its citizens.

“It gives me great pleasure to see the hard work of our students over the past two weeks materialize in this inspiring competition. The quality of the projects is a testament to their commitment and diligence. The AWS team did a great job mentoring the students to help come up with innovative ideas and solutions,” said Professor Riyadh Hamza, President, University of Bahrain. “AWS is the leading cloud computing company in the world, opening three datacenters in Bahrain, which is a strategic enabler to transform our economy. This will create not only new jobs, roles and opportunities, but also enhance productivity and support to growth of startups in the region.”

The teams had 15 days of technical training, design thinking, ideation, culture of innovation training, prototyping, and visual presentations. Each of the eight teams chose a unique problem to solve with AI tools on AWS. The eight prototypes focused on solving how to:

  1. Leverage AI technologies to serve vulnerable people with special needs
  2. Generate a prototype to serve people through sign language and translation
  3. Create healthier homes by utilizing AI technology to monitor health
  4. Create industry solutions for smart gas stations
  5. Tackle augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) with new ideas
  6. Develop prototypes for handicapped parking and metered parking
  7. Solve environmental problems by utilizing AI for garbage segregation
  8. Develop a healthcare system that enables elderly people to request an ambulance or health aid

Inside the hackathon

A student (left) hackathon participant explains how she intends to use Virtual Reality solutions and electroencephalogram ("brain scans"), powered by machine learning on AWS to understand and empathize with mental illness patients.

A student hackathon participant (left) explains how she intends to use virtual reality solutions and electroencephalogram (“brain scans”), powered by machine learning on AWS to understand and empathize with mental illness patients.

The eight teams each chose a specific challenge to hack. The AWS team provided the students with innovation mentorship, such as using Amazon’s Working Backwards process, design thinking, technical assistance from our solutions architects, and access to the advanced machine learning (ML) technologies on AWS such as AWS DeepLens, Amazon SageMaker, and Amazon Rekognition, and received training and AWS credits from AWS Educate and AWS Training and Certification.

At the AWS Summit in Bahrain, the teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges from government, education and nonprofits including Tamkeen, University of Bahrain, AWS, Leap GCC, and the AI Society of Bahrain.

And the winner is…

The first place team built a prototype serving sign language. The solution used technologies like AWS DeepLens, AWS Lambda, Amazon SageMaker, Alexa for Business, Amazon Polly, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Translate to enable sign language to voice translation, translation within languages, real-time voice to sign language, and smart home control via sign language.

The second place team built a mobile application that enabled blind people to take snapshots on their mobile phone – integrated with AWS cloud services including Amazon Rekognition, Amazon SageMaker, Amazon S3, Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) – then receive a voice message with the object of the photo back to the mobile phone. The app can read both Arabic and English menus and recognize banknote currencies.

The third place project utilizes a camera to extract vehicle license plate information at gas stations, to pull vehicle profile, define tariff, direct to the appropriate pump, and facilitate different types of payments.

Another team created a robot with a camera and OpenCV technology for elderly people living alone. The solution captures vital signs through wearable devices, publishes the information on the cloud, and provides continuous monitoring. In case of fall or loss of consciousness, it will take a picture and send to emergency contacts or interested parties.

AI hackathon Bahrain winning team

The winning team of the AWS Summit Bahrain AI hackathon.

Stay tuned to the AWS Public Sector Blog for information about the next hackathon.